Intel eyes Chinese market with speech forum

Intel is set to host its first speech recognition forum in Beijing next week aimed at accelerating the development of speech-enabled PC software products, particularly for Chinese markets, Intel officials said.

Intel will be joined at the two-day event by leading speech software makers like IBM and Dragon Systems, as well as representatives from leading research institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Bell Labs arm of Lucent Technologies, Intel said.

Speech-enabled applications are particularly important for driving the growth of PC use in China, where complex alphabets and character sets make entering data with a keyboard difficult, said Rob Sullivan, director of content technologies and new businesses for Intel.

"We think speech recognition can make a huge difference in China," Sullivan said.

The summit will include hands-on demonstrations, seminars and case studies by various vendors working on speech-enabled applications. Meanwhile Intel will urge the speech industry to redouble its efforts in developing products for Chinese markets, Sullivan said.

As the number one supplier of microprocessor chips that power PCs, Intel is wise to foster development of a technology that will help open up the potentially vast Chinese market, said William Meisel, publisher and editor of "Speech Recognition Update", a monthly newsletter covering speech recognition.

"In many ways speech is more important for Chinese markets than it is for English users," Meisel said.

Also Monday, Intel will announce plans to form an Advanced Speech Research Consortium along with seven leading universities and institutions to focus on common research goals for PC-based speech technology, officials said.

"The goal of the consortium is to make the PC a more intelligent device that you can talk to and listen to," Intel's Sullivan said.

The summit will also be attended by local researchers from Tsinghua University, Institute of Automation Research and Institute of Acoustics Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), who will discuss their achievements in Chinese speech technology, Intel said.

Other participants include Kent Ridge Digital Labs of Singapore and speech vendors such as Andrea Electronics, Applied Language Technologies, Asiaworks, Emkay Innovation Products, InfoTalk, Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products, Microsoft and Philips Electronics NV.

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